Ten years. Ten years since the most terrifying day of my life. A day that filled me with fear and shock and horror and unbelievable sadness. A day that brought loss and grief to so many fellow New Yorkers. I was one of the lucky ones. I didn't lose anyone close to me, didn't witness the planes hitting or the people jumping or the towers falling, since I was uptown that morning (I was supposed to be at a meeting down on Wall Street at 10, but of course never made it). I watched it all unfold on TV, like the rest of the world did. For weeks after, I smelled the smoke in the air, jumped at every loud sound on the street, and was heartbroken when I saw all the 'MISSING' signs and photos at the firehouses and churches, and when each day went by and the rescue efforts became recovery efforts and the hope of finding survivors faded away. We were a city, and a country, very wounded and broken. I was broken.
As a parent and a business leader, I had to pull myself together for my kids and my employees. But I wasn't doing a very good job. If you asked me then what life would be like in 10 years, I probably would have said it would be pretty scary. I couldn't imagine ever feeling safe in NYC again. I had visions of frequent terrorist attacks and bombings and living in a war zone. For the first time in my life I had a very small clue of what it must have been like for my mother as a teenager hiding from the Nazis in WWII. I thought life as we knew it was over. Of course for those families experiencing the anguish of loss, life for them as they knew it WAS over. But those of us who didn't lose a loved one were experiencing a different kind of loss and despair. When I woke up on the morning of September 12, 2001, I didn't think anything would ever go back to 'normal.'
Yet the past ten years have been full of the joys and sadness of every day life. Beautiful celebrations, births, graduations, bar mitzvahs, and proud accomplishments, as well as funerals, hospitalizations, natural disasters and economic hardships. Life went on. Things went back to 'normal'. I wasn't even planning on having another child until the sadness from 9/11 (and some very sad family events in 2002 and 2003) got me feeling like I wanted to create something beautiful. My little angel, my love and joy and bundle of cuteness may not have even existed! So, while I understand that it is important to take this anniversary as a time to reflect back on that horrible day, I would also like to use this as an opportunity to count my blessings, and be thankful for all that has happened in the last 10 years.
This is a collage I put together in the days after 9/11